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J.K. Rowling hasn't read 'Fifty Shades of Grey,' talks 'Casual Vacancy'

09/25/2012 by Corinne Heller

J.K. Rowling says she has not read "Fifty Shades of Grey," the infamous erotic novel that last month broke a sales record to outsell all seven of the British author's popular and family-friendly "Harry Potter" books.

The writer, one of the wealthiest people in the world, is currently promoting a new project - her own first adult novel, called "The Casual Vacancy."

When asked in a recent on-camera interview with the UK newspaper The Guardian if she has read "Fifty Shades of Grey," Rowling said: "No I haven't. Well, if I'm truthful, it's 'cause I promised my editor I wouldn't. Anyway, I read 'Story of O.' You know, I don't need 'Fifty Shades of Grey.' I read the real thing."

She then said: "It was a joke. He said, 'Oh don't read it,' so I said 'Alright then, I wont.'"

Dubbed by many as "mommy porn," "Fifty Shades of Grey," by E.L. James, is the first of a trilogy about a sadomasochistic relationship between wealthy businessman Christian Grey and college student Anastasia Steele. "The Story of O" is a 1954 erotic French novel that also deals with similar sexual topics.

"I don't think you feel like you're missing out, do you?" the reporter asked, regarding "Fifty Shades of Grey."

"Not wildly, no." Rowling replies. "But, well, I don't know! It could be amazing. But no, I haven't read it."

"The Casual Vacancy" is set for release on Thursday, September 27 and, according to The Guardian and other outlets, deals with X-rated issues such as teen sexuality, drug addiction and prostitution. (Check out more details about the plot of "The Casual Vacancy," as announced by the publisher in April.)

"I just needed to write this book. I like it a lot, I'm proud of it, and that counts for me," Rowling told The Guardian, adding: "The worst that can happen is that everyone says, 'Well, that was dreadful, she should have stuck to writing for kids' and I can take that. So, yeah, I'll put it out there, and if everyone says, 'Well, that's shockingly bad - back to wizards with you,' then obviously I won't be throwing a party. But I will live. I will live."

In August, it was announced that "Fifty Shades of Grey" sold more than 4 million copies in print and on Kindle on Amazon's UK website since March. The company said the novel was its best-selling book of all time and that it outsold the final "Harry Potter" installment, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," by more than two books to one, according to The Daily Mail newspaper.

The Wall Street Journal reported that about 450 million physical copies all seven "Harry Potter" books have been sold worldwide. The franchise depicts the lives of child and teen witches and wizards, who battle the evil Lord Voldemort.

The "Harry Potter" series, which was adapted into hit films (see photos from all of them) and even inspired a Florida theme park, made Rowling rich. In 2011, her net worth was estimated to be $1 billion. This year, Forbes estimated it had dropped by about $160 million due to her charity contributions and increased tax rates.

James, who is also British, began writing her erotic stories online as fan fiction based on the "Twilight" vampire series. "Fifty Shades of Grey" has sold more than 20 million copies, The Los Angeles Times reported, adding that the author is now worth about $32 million and earned $5 million for the film rights to the franchise.

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